1 Poem by Joy KMT

 

Negotiations 

as if eyes were lobster crackers 
and safety was a word that didn’t 
work, like “pineapples” became a 
joke and so did the girl who belonged 
to herself- 
 
too strong to not go insane. 
mostly you don’t even notice it. our 
heads go prowling while we wash 
the porcelain dishes or stir the pots 
or drive the cars or listen to white 
women talk about sisterhood. 
 
sometimes the crack is noticed. 
a babalawo will look at your miniskirt 
and ask you why you are so 
unstable and you always keep 
a different number. 
 
so you smile and position your voice 
two octaves higher and you’re a little 
girl again whose shell has been 
cracked and your only defense is nice. 
vacant. You have immediately 
vacated your own body in deference 
to an Authority. 
 
and your girlfriend is watching. Angry 
watching you shrink your average-height- 
for-a-man frame. Angry that you flinch at 
a hint of an old man’s disapproval 
 
and you couldn’t tell this woman whose 
blood is so royal that five hundred years 
ago in benin they cast her face in bronze 
so she would be remembered when she 
walked back across the ocean 
that you

are sometimes absolutely terrified. and that 
you are also so Angry that you curl 
up like a bantu knot every time 
someone looks at you with 
lobster cracker eyes 
 
so you both order a rum and coke 
and forget about what is not said.

 

Joy KMT is self-taught & queer & black &  femme & hood & poet & mother &l over &. Her poetry has appeared in Amistad: Howard's Literary Journal, Black Girl Dangerous, Backbone Poetry Journal, The Feminist Wire, Pluck! the Affrilachian Journal of Arts and Culture, and others. www.facebook.com/KMTjoy